Grand River Finds More Than 20% of Parents Consider Boarding School

Here’s a reflection of how the world changes. Grand River Academy commissioned a survey to explore just how widespread family considerations of boarding school might be.

More than 20% of American parents are open to considering boarding school for their child.

GRA finds that overall, 21.3% of American families, “over one-fifth of Americans ages 35 – 54 would consider sending their child to a boarding school.”



GRA also found an age an gender gap among parent on boarding school:

“Of those surveyed…there was a slight eight percent difference in the amount of responses in favor of a boarding school from 35 – 44 year olds than 45-54 year olds. Within the 35 – 44 age range, Men were 10% more likely to consider the option of a private college prep school than women.”

Knowing that survey firms — under pressure from the survey’s patron — are sometimes willing to help make the numbers sing a particular tune, I exchanged notes with GRA head Tim Viands asking about the survey’s methods and approaches.

It’s above board.

My conversation with Viands:

Did y’all commission the survey or do it yourselves?

It was commissioned and was random, but targeted to demographics of the age group that would be making such decision.

Was it random? Did you do any sample defining (families with kids; families with boys)?

Generally, what’s the story behind the survey?
The story behind the survey is to make the case that the boarding school concept is much more popular than many would think and the demographics behind the decision-makers.

Take a look at GRA’s full post (link above) where they layout the survey in graphics and link the potential of a boarding school education to other work done the success and engagement of boarding school alumni.

  • Sherri Bergman

    I am surprised by the age difference because the enrollment trend I have observed has been that we are seeing more students of older parents, particularly only or last children. I’m curious as to the wording of the question. If the question is “would consider,” it could just be that younger parents are more open minded in being willing to consider all options whereas older parents may be more set in their beliefs about child raising.

    • bfisher


      Nice observations. I’ve seen the same trend as you over the past 20 years- older parents and grandparents participating in, or outright raising, the raising of grandchildren.

      I’m wondering if we seeing a shift away from greater grandparent participation with a newer generation of current parents?

      Thanks for reading.

  • Silver

    Best decision I have ever made was to send my youngest son to a college prep boarding school. He was at a very good private school but going away to boarding school promotes independence and maturity. He has grown up so much in the past 6 months and takes his school work so seriously. His self esteem has skyrocketed and as a parent i wish his older brother would have gone also.

Brian Fisher

A product of both private and public education, Brian Fisher served as a teacher, coach, dorm parent, and administrator at three different boarding schools. Brian also fills the role of Director of Development at Wolfeboro, The Summer Boarding School, in NH along with being a partner at AdmissionsQuest.

More by Brian Fisher

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